Maria Canal (University of Manchester)
Affiliations: Senior Lecturer in the English department at the University of Central Lancashire and Affiliated Fellow at the Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies of the School of Advanced Study of London University.
I am a philosopher, working mostly in the history of 19th and 20th century German philosophy, metaphysics and philosophy of language. I am particularly interested in the work of Ernst Bloch, and in the Connected Communities programme I am looking at the relation between ‘community’ and ‘future’ from the perspective of Bloch’s utopian and messianic ontology of the ‘not yet’. For classical metaphysics, community can be said, at the most fundamental level, to be a characteristic of being itself. The paradoxes of community are ontological in nature. Even in Kant’s critique of metaphysics, the fundamental role of the idea of community is maintained in several incarnations (not lastly that of the ‘Reich’ (Kingdom) of Ends as a union of rational beings). In Bloch’s ontology the fundamental role that ‘community’ has played in the history of philosophy is maintained, but enriched with a unique perspective on the part played by the ‘not yet’. This allows us to rethink a range of concepts essential to the life and discourse of communities, including justice, community engagement, freedom and tradition, the relation between the individual and the community and the relation between community (Gemeinschaft) and society (Gesellschaft) in modernity.
I am employed at Centre for Healthy Ageing – an interdisciplinary research centre focusing on the challenges of an ageing society. I am part of the program Innovation and Dissemination in which we focus on the cultural anthropological aspects of healthy ageing, working together with disciplines ranging from neurologists to epidemiologists to sociologists. - I am part of the interdisciplinary innovation partnership No Age. In the sub-partnership The Meeting Place we try to develop innovative welfare technologies for communities of elderly persons, and technologies that can facilitate meetings and be part of creating communities for the elderly. I conduct ethnographic fieldwork on activity centres and in the homes of elderly persons, which is used as user insights in the innovation process.
- This fieldwork I also use for my Ph.D.-project. The project is called Technologies and Communities for the active elderly. I focus on how notions of activity and community are used and practiced at activity centres for elderly. Ideas of prevention through exercise and extending ‘time left’ are ways of organizing and creating communities. The ‘in common’ of the community is age (time lived) and an expectation of extending ‘time left’ through communal activities. Thus, ‘time left’ and ‘time lived’ are substantial parts of these communities. I use technology as everything from information technology to ‘a way of doing something’. With this I also see community as a technology, i.e. as ‘a way of being together’.
- My background is in European ethnology and anthropology.
Craig Lundy (University of Exeter)
I am a Research Associate in Politics at the University of Exeter. The project that I am working on with Dr. Robin Durie and Dr. Katrina Wyatt, titled “Researching with Communities: Towards a Leading Edge Theory and Practice for Community Engagement”, is part of the AHRC led Connected Communities programme. The purpose of our scoping study is to investigate the usefulness of complexity theory for understanding the relations between academic researchers and the public communities they engage with, and more broadly, the conditions for successful community engagement. Challenging traditional conceptions of time is of course a central component of complexity theory. Thus if communities are understood as complex systems, and if complexity represents the most effective means for theorising the connectivity within and between communities and academic researchers, how time is conceived and interacted with will play a crucial role throughout the process of engagement.
Aside from this research project, I am also pursuing my interests in time and communities through a monograph that I am writing for Edinburgh University Press (2012). This book, titled History and Becoming: Deleuze’s Philosophy of Creativity, will examine the work of Deleuze and several of his conceptual forebears (Marx, Nietzsche, Bergson, Péguy and Braudel) in order to address the following problematic: what is the relation between history and the creation of the new? While much work has been done on the importance of Deleuze’s philosophy of time to his political and social philosophy for change, I hope to demonstrate in this book how an appreciation of his philosophy of history is equally indispensable. You can find out more about my work here.
Craig's Lightning Talk:
Samuel Kirwin (University of Bristol)
I am currently writing up a Ph.D. entitled "From engagement to enforcement and back again; re-claiming community from disappointment and exhaustion", which takes a critical perspective on the interpretation of community and 'informal controls' on behaviour within Anglo-Foucauldian 'governmentality' studies. The PhD builds upon research carried out with 'Friends Groups'; community organisations focused upon particular green spaces. Through the work of Bernard Stiegler and Jacques Rancière the thesis investigates the technical and aesthetic particularities of Friends' practices, before drawing these observations into a theory of community and the 'in-common' in line with Jean-Luc Nancy's concept of the 'inoperative' community.
In my own research temporalities of community formation and retention have been central concerns. A frequent problem for Friends Groups is the difficulty of forming long-term circuits of community involvement from short-term 'threats', while conversely an enduring presence of community is often forged from one-off events. Where groups focus upon the formation of a community presence as a form of behavioural control, this relies upon an authority forged as the temporality of an enduring care for a space. I have sought by looking at Stiegler to examine the technical (the discourses, strategies, plans and calculations that shape community practice) composition of community involvement, examining as such the temporality of community as it is located in technical circuits of care and education.
Sam's Pecha Kucha Presentation
Kuldip Powar is the Director ‘Unravelling’-a journey into war, memory & loss, in collaboration with Nitin Sawhney and Goldmiths University and funded by the ARHC. He will be presenting the film at the workshop, followed by a Q&A.
'Unravelling’ recently won the Best Short Film Competition Award at the 13th London Asian Film Festival,2011. This film was also selected for : The Re-Orient festival in Stockholm; The Spinning Wheel Sikh Film Festival 2008 in Hollywood and Bombay Mix Film Festival 2010(Cine Lumiere). ’Unravelling’ also won the Best Short Film at the 2009 Sikh International Film Festival-New York as well as being screened at the Imperial War Museum, National Army Museum, RIBA, V&A & Tate Britain, The Southbank, Museum of London and most recently at The Black International Film Festival, Berlin.
Kuldip has also worked on various film projects that explore the lives of Asian people in Britain. Completed a short film piece Remembrance (2005) funded by the BFI ‘Screen Rootz’ Initiative, poetically exploring post-colonial memory of WWII vis-à-vis personal testimony and narrative. Co-Directed the film, Kabhi Ritz Kabhie Palladium (2003) about the social cinema scenes amongst the South Asian diaspora communities of Coventry, for an Herbert Art Gallery & Museum exhibition. Has experience in conducting oral and visual ethnographies across Britain. Created an oral history archive and directed a documentary (funded by the MLA) titled For the Record: the social life of Indian vinyl in Southall (2008), which was screened at The British Library (2009). Kuldip has also been a member of the ‘Music In Museums’ meeting group (programmed by the MLA) and has given presentations at The Horniman Museum and The Royal College of Music. He has worked with The Royal Geographical Society as a Volunteer Community Consultant for the ‘Hidden Histories’ and ‘Moving Journeys’ projects. He has worked for the Sorrell Foundation on the ‘Building Schools for the Future’ programme as a Project Facilitator.
He is currently working as an ‘Associate Artist’ for Tamasha Theatre Company, co-leading ‘Small Lives Global Ties' Writers Group.
I am a PhD student from CRESC. I recently completed my PhD and in my PhD research, discussions on community literature and belonging literature helped me to construct my framework for some of my empirical analysis. My PhD research explores the ways in which urban policies, gentrification and socio-economic policies impact upon the class composition, housing, and patterns of belonging of different social classes in Istanbul. It analyzes the micro processes of everyday contestations and the power relations among different groups living in social-mix neighborhoods. I did my research on two neighborhoods at the Halic-Golden Horn area of Istanbul, one gentrified and one non-gentrified working class neighborhood, each of them affected by different migration flows. Unlike some of the community studies, which often consider communities to be organic and static entities, I approached these different groups (different migrant groups and different social classes) with belonging perspective which enabled me to look at the class cultures and lifestyle practices more efficiently. Belonging perspective helped me to understand the mobile and contested character of belonging and symbolic structure/references of communities. I combined the discussions on belonging and spatialization of class and used multiple correspondence analysis (MCA) and qualitative interviews to investigate different belonging patterns in historical neighborhoods of Istanbul. I am interested in this workshop to participate discussions on temporal belongings and recent discussions on community research. I am also interested in using belonging perspective for transnational migration and I am also hoping to benefit from discussions on migration, studies of inclusion and exclusion.
I am a postgraduate student in sociology at the University of Manchester awarded with a studentship by CRESC. After receiving my MA from Ball State University (USA), I taught sociology in Kyrgyzstan. Some of my subsequent research has been on dynamics of bride kidnapping, youth and technology, and methodological issues of doing research in post-soviet Eurasia. My doctoral researchis a multi-local ethnographic study of the transnational family in contemporary Kyrgyzstan. It aims to focus on the effects of increasing outmigration on those who stay behind. My dissertation will contribute to literature on the sociology of family and transformative processes that are affecting kinship obligations and responsibilities. On a theoretical level, I am interested in examining the changing notions of what constitutes the family today, which is often oversimplified. With geographical distance, families are experiencing new ways of relating to each other, often finding themselves belonging temporarily to multi-localities, stretching social networks across borders, and yet that is becoming increasingly possible due to advancing technologies that enable family members to stay in touch and show care and affection for those who are left behind in ways that was not possible only a few decades ago. Recent studies propose that kinship and family obligations that were common in the pre-soviet and soviet times are today considered “a financial burden” and “a social inconvenience,” transforming the nature of familyhood. Therefore, people’s reactions to improve their economic situation is also boosted by local competitions of keeping up with families in communities where engaging in life-cycle events and activities rendered significant, sticking to social networks and structures of indebtedness.
I am professor of Postcolonial Studies in the School of Environment and Development at the University of Manchester. Although my academic background is in Geography, for the last 20 years I have been based in a multi-disciplinary institute teaching and researching international development theory and practice. My research has focused on colonial and postcolonial analyses of international development and on diasporas and migration. On these issues I have edited a number of books including Participation: the new tyranny? (2001), Development Theory and Practice: critical perspectives (2002) and A Radical History of Development Studies (2005). Much of this research has explored how eurocentric, particularly colonialist, ideologies and practices continue to pervade the workings of the international development industry. What has emerged from this work has been a growing awareness about the centrality of time to explanations of difference and inequality. More recently, therefore, I have been carrying out historically informed research on how different conceptualisations, imaginings and uses of time shape global inequalities by examining the spatial mapping of different temporalities. More specifically, I examine how temporalities, of ‘past’, ‘present’ and ‘future’, are associated not solely with different historical moments but with particular people and places. I am also interested in identifying the variety of ways in which these hegemonic temporalities are being resisted.
My interest in the workshop stems from my PhD research, which explores how we might approach the idea of ‘feminist history’ from a historiographical perspective that is not bound to a framework of historical totality, linearity or teleology. I am currently trying to work out an understanding of historical time based upon Dipesh Chakrabarty’s concept of ‘heterotemporality’, and Paul Ricoeur’s notion of historical time as a form of public/social time that is constructed through the overlapping of multiple time frames and concepts, including: ‘calendar time’ (the time of dating and periodizations); ‘generational time’ (based upon notions such as ‘legacy’, ‘predecessors’, ‘contemporaries’, and ‘succesors’); ontologies and epistemologies of the past as ‘trace’; and temporal concepts which ‘temporalize’ certain periods of history -or history per se- such as progress, decline, cyclicality or stagnation. These different overlapping ‘strands’ that constitute historical time, I will try to show, are socially and culturally specific, and always open to contestation and refiguration. I will then ask how this idea of historical time might alter how we think about and construct feminist histories. For example: if we work from a model of historical time as multiple or ‘heterotemporal’ (rather than from a model of temporal totality and historical alignment), in what terms can we speak of ‘feminist histories’ as ‘collective’ histories? And how would it affect our notions of historical agency and judgment?
My ideas at the moment are still being developed, so I am really looking forward to learning from all the different participants’ perspectives on social and cultural time.
Victoria's Lightning Talk